Letter Sent to Members 8 September 2020
Dear ACWA Member
It gives me no pleasure to provide this update for Victorian members.
Over the course of our Victorian COVID-19 journey together ACWA has pointed out that some car wash operators have elected to open their sites within a “grey area” contained in the Chief Medical Officer’s Stage 4 Restricted Activity Directions.
Premier Andrews has now confirmed in two television press conferences that the Government’s intention of Stage 4 Restrictions is less about reducing the risk of contracting COVID at a business and, more about reducing movement of the population to stop community transmission. They want to give people as few excuses to leave their home as possible, and to achieve this, they need as many businesses closed as possible.
To this end, in the short time since the Andrews’ Government’s Road Map to Recovery announcement on Sunday, it has become apparent that DHHS has become much more proactive in making contact with businesses they believe are operating in contravention of the Chief Medical Officer’s Stage 4 Restrictions.
ACWA is now aware that the DHHS, via their COVID-19 Enforcement and Compliance Inspectors, have been in contact with at least two Melbourne sites and ordered the car washes be closed. Through these contacts with DHHS inspectors, ACWA has been made aware of a specific reference to car washing on the DHHS website.
It is located in the Q and A section of the DHHS site, and states:
Can a car wash in metropolitan Melbourne still operate?
Car washes, including those operating as part of petrol stations, must cease under Stage 4 restrictions.
ACWA does not know when this information was placed on the website and the DHHS when contacted, were not able to confirm a date. For those interested, the specific instruction can be found here https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/shopping-retail-and-personal-services-metropolitan-melbourne-covid-19#can-a-car-wash-in-metropolitan-melbourne-still-operatenbsp
The unfortunate situation for car washing in Metropolitan Melbourne is now clear, and car wash sites must be closed.
Importantly, if there is an upside to the “grey area” being closed, it is that ACWA can now take a vastly more proactive lobbying role without placing members who were continuing to operate in jeopardy.
Following our emergency Board Member Meeting this morning and, as previously advised, ACWA has been vigorously lobbying for car washes to be opened with Victorian Members of Parliament. This is a strategy we will continue to aggressively pursue on behalf of all members. Once again, we encourage your assistance in broadening the political conversation amongst local members.
In addition to political lobbying, ACWA will be raising the consciousness of the plight of car wash operators amongst Victorian media outlets. These personal media contacts will be supported by a series of media releases in the coming days. Please consider how you may be able to play a role in distributing these to any local media contacts and/or social media groups you may belong to.
Please be aware that my fellow ACWA Directors and I, as well as our staff, are working hard behind the scenes to get the best possible outcome for the Victorian car wash industry. We will not rest until we have explored every opportunity available to us.
I will continue to keep you informed.